iPad • Rome: Total War arrived on iPad way back in November with much fanfare. Here was a massive PC experience–albeit a 12 year-old PC experience–on a touchscreen device you could play on the couch. It had everything the PC version had including the thousands of little fake people killing each other left and right. More importantly, they managed to create a UI for touchscreens that actually worked. One of the big questions when it was released revolved around the expansions. Would they be included or come later? At the time, Feral Interactive was mum on the subject, but today they announced that the first expansion, Barbarian Invasion, will be coming to iPad.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • Whenever a cooperative game is released, regardless of how impossible it is to win, it will only be a matter of days before some gamers start squawking about how easy the game is. There’s always folks claiming to have an 80% win rate on games that I have yet to sniff a victory, and I’m usually playing on the easiest difficulty level. Now, either I’m a terrible gamer or they’re lying. I fully admit to being terrible at everything, gaming included, but I like to think that those folks are lying through their teeth or, at least, playing the rules wrong. It can’t all be me, can it? Case in point, I suck at Sentinels of the Multiverse. I’ve played a ton, and yet still fail miserably against just about every villain regardless of which team I’ve cobbled together. For those who find Sentinels too easy I have two things to say. First of all, I hate you, and, secondly, Handelabra somehow agrees with you and has given masochists the option to make SotM even harder via something called Challenge Mode.
iOS Universal, Android • Boardnaut Studios has quietly been translating quality print-and-play and small box tabletop games to digital for a bit now, titles like Maquis and Land 6. Their latest has just landed on the App Store, and it’s a port of another print-and-play game, Constantinople.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Ryan Laukat is the Leonardo da Vinci of the board game world. Not only does he design interesting and much-loved games, but he also does all the artwork, graphic design, and publishing. He’s a true renaissance man, and it was only a matter of time before one of his designs made it to digital. Turns out the first digital title is also one of his first physical titles, Eight-Minute Empire, and it’s coming this summer.
Tabletop • When it comes to word games on tabletop, there’s Paperback and then there’s everything else. Designer Tim Fowers somehow managed to take a rather stuffy genre and make it interesting by crossing it with everyone’s favorite and most overused mechanism, deckbuilding. Yes, I’m not a huge fan of either word games or deckbuilding, but put together it’s near perfection. Today, Tim Fowers announced a new game in the series: Hardback.
iOS, Android • Handelabra Games is well known around Stately Play as the creators of the always entertaining (and growing) port of Sentinels of the Multiverse. For the last couple years, that’s all Handelabra has been known for, but that’s changing. Coming soon we’ll also have them to thank for a digital version of the baseball dice game, Bottom of the 9th.
When Panzer Corps was released for iPad back in 2013, it immediately became the best war game made for the platform and, to this day, hasn’t been surpassed. The PC version that preceded it isn’t bad either, and has spawned 17 expansions since its release in 2011. With all this success, it could only be a matter of time before a sequel appeared. That time came last week when Slitherine announced a successor, creatively titled Panzer Corps 2.
Tabletop • The last time Eric Lang and Cool Mini or Not joined forces on Kickstarter, it cost me just shy of $300 to get about a million boxes full of some of the coolest plastic figures I’d ever seen. While this made me happier than the birth of my 3rd child, my wife thinks Eric Lang is the devil incarnate and Cool Mini or Not a writhing den of pure evil intent on destroying our bank account. Not sure about the Eric Lang part, but she’s not too far off on Cool Mini or Not. Unfortunately, yesterday they launched their latest joint Kickstarter and, yes, I’ve already pledged.
iPad, PC/Mac • After my torrid love affair with Hearthstone cooled, I kind of figured I was done with the whole CCG thing. After all, a big part of Hearthstone’s appeal was the setting, which I’d spent time in since the 90’s, and the polish that only a billion dollar developer can provide. 2016 surprised me, however, with not one, but two, new CCGs due for mobile that piqued my interest. The first is Duelyst, created by board game designer Eric Lang, and the second is Faeria. Both offer a CCG experience that incorporates a board and tiny little critters you can move around, but Faeria has one advantage over Duelyst, it’s been released for iPad.
iOS Universal, PC • Other than the upcoming adventure title Thimbleweed Park, the future of classic point-and-click adventure titles on the App Store looks pretty bleak. Sure, there’s Telltale, but their titles feel more like interactive movies than the point-and-click adventures of old. Luckily, we still have Wadjet Eye Games, makers of the fantastic Blackwell series of games for iOS. They’re the lone soldiers on the point-and-click frontier and their latest, Shardlight, has just made its way from PC to iOS.